Bahrain - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Executive summary

Telecommunications revenues rising in the Kingdom of Bahrain

There are many positive developments occurring in the liberalised telecoms market of Bahrain. Telecommunications industry revenues are rising, mobile penetration is very high and mobile data is growing faster than voice. There are now well over 2.8 million mobile subscriptions in the Kingdom and penetration sits at over 200%.

Consumers are reaping the benefit of competition which has led to a decline in prices for services. Roaming costs have also dropped and will continue to do so for the next few years. The unlicensed mobile sector, led by handset devices, resulted in a revenue growth of 88% between 2014 and 2015.

With mobile subscribers accounting for the majority of broadband subscriptions in Bahrain, the operators are focusing heavily on improving mobile infrastructure. LTE networks are well established and the operators are now looking towards new services like VoLTE, LTE-A, M2M and the potential of 5G in the future.

Bahrain’s Fourth National Telecommunications Plan was prepared by the end of 2015 and given approval by the Ministry in May 2016. It will focus on fibre-optic infrastructure and affordable prices for high-speed access. It also includes 5G development and readiness.

Table 1 – Key telecom parameters – 2014; 2017

Sector 2014 2017
Subscribers to telecoms services (million): (e)
Fixed and mobile
broadband subscriptions
1.9 2.4
Fixed-line telephony 0.24 0.23
Mobile phone 2.32 2.95

Key developments:

  • Infrastructure-based competition has been essential to growth; ADSL was once the dominant means of broadband access prior to widespread adoption of WiMAX and mobile broadband.
  • Around 79% of mobile subscriptions are prepaid in Bahrain.
  • At the end of Q3 2016, mobile broadband subscriptions accounted for 64% of total mobile subscriptions in Bahrain.
  • The Fourth National Telecommunications Plan was approved in May 2016.
  • Batelco and Ericsson formed a partnership in 2017 which will see them undergo network upgrades to provide LTE-A services as well as expand VoLTE services. It is hoped the infrastructure will also provide the framework for 5G in the future.
  • Zain Bahrain has seen increases in its data revenues during both 2015 and 2016 and data now accounts for around 41% of total revenues.
  • Consumers in Bahrain and other Gulf countries are beginning to enjoy price reductions on roaming rates.

Companies covered in this report include:

Batelco, MenaTelecom, Kalaam Telecom, 2Connect, Noorsat, Zain Bahrain, Viva Bahrain.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Executive summary
  • 2. Key statistics
    • 2.1 Country overview
  • 3. Telecommunications market
    • 3.1 Historical overview
    • 3.2 Telecommunications market
      • 3.2.1 Market analysis
    • 3.3 Recent developments
  • 4. Regulatory environment
    • 4.1 Regulatory authority
    • 4.2 Overview
    • 4.3 Telecom sector liberalisation in Bahrain
      • 4.3.1 First National Telecommunications Plan
      • 4.3.2 Second National Telecommunications Plan and planned measures
      • 4.3.3 Third National Telecommunications Plan
      • 4.3.4 Fourth National Telecommunications Plan
      • 4.3.5 Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) licences
    • 4.4 Interconnect
    • 4.5 Access
    • 4.6 Number portability
    • 4.7 Privatisation
  • 5. Fixed network operators in Bahrain
    • 5.1 Overview
    • 5.2 Bahrain telecommunications company (Batelco)
      • 5.2.1 Historical overview
      • 5.2.2 Recent developments
    • 5.3 Alternative operators
      • 5.3.1 MenaTelecom
      • 5.3.2 Kalaam Telecom
      • 5.3.3 2Connect (revoked)
  • 6. Telecommunications infrastructure
    • 6.1 National telecom network
    • 6.2 International infrastructure
      • 6.2.1 Submarine cable networks
      • 6.2.2 Satellite networks
      • 6.2.3 Noorsat
  • 7. Smart infrastructure
    • 7.1 M2M/IoT/Big Data
    • 7.2 Smart energy
  • 8. Wholesaling
    • 8.1 Overview
  • 9. Broadband access market
    • 9.1 Market analysis
    • 9.2 Broadband statistics
    • 9.3 Broadband subscriber forecasts
      • 9.3.1 Scenario 1 – higher growth
      • 9.3.2 Scenario 2 – lower growth
    • 9.4 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) and Fibre-To-The-Home (FttH)
      • 9.4.1 National Broadband Network (NBN)
    • 9.5 Other fixed broadband services
      • 9.5.1 Fixed wireless (WiFi and WiMAX)
      • 9.5.2 iBurst
  • 10. Digital economy
    • 10.1 Introduction
    • 10.2 e-Commerce
      • 10.2.1 Sharing economy
    • 10.3 e-Banking
    • 10.4 e-Government
    • 10.5 e-Health
    • 10.6 e-Education
  • 11. Digital media
    • 11.1 Introduction
    • 11.2 Videostreaming
      • 11.2.1 Introduction
      • 11.2.2 Video-based services
      • 11.2.3 Broadband TV (IPTV)
    • 11.3 Social media
    • 11.4 VoIP
    • 11.5 Music
    • 11.6 On line gaming and gambling
  • 12. Mobile communications
    • 12.1 Market analysis
    • 12.2 Mobile statistics
      • 12.2.1 General statistics
    • 12.3 Mobile voice
      • 12.3.1 Prepaid
      • 12.3.2 Mobile data
    • 12.4 Mobile broadband statistics
    • 12.5 Regulatory issues
      • 12.5.1 Second mobile licence
      • 12.5.2 Third mobile licence
      • 12.5.3 Prepaid subscriber registration
      • 12.5.4 Roaming tariff reduction
      • 12.5.5 MNP
    • 12.6 Mobile infrastructure
      • 12.6.1 Brief intro analogue networks
      • 12.6.2 Digital networks
      • 12.6.3 5G
    • 12.7 Major mobile operators
      • 12.7.1 Batelco
      • 12.7.2 Zain Bahrain
      • 12.7.3 Viva Bahrain / STC Bahrain
    • 12.8 Mobile content and applications
      • 12.8.1 m-commerce
      • 12.8.2 m-banking (payments/loans)
      • 12.8.3 m-TV
    • 12.9 Mobile handsets
  • 13. Related reports
  • Table 1 – Key telecom parameters – 2014; 2017
  • Table 2 – Country statistics – Bahrain
  • Table 3 – Telecom revenue statistic – 2015
  • Table 4 – Telephone network statistics – 2017
  • Table 5 – Broadband statistics – 2017
  • Table 6 – Mobile statistics – 2017
  • Table 7 – National telecommunications authorities
  • Table 8 – GDP real growth rate and inflation – 2005 - 2016
  • Table 9 – Telecom sector revenue – 2006 - 2015
  • Table 10 – Telecom sector revenue breakdown – 2012 - 2014
  • Table 11 – Batelco revenue and profit – 2005 – Q1 2017
  • Table 12 – Batelco revenue by division - 2005 – 2015
  • Table 13 – Historic - Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 1995 – 2004
  • Table 14 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2005 – 2017
  • Table 15 – ARPU for National calls – 2010 - 2014
  • Table 17 – Internet users and penetration estimates - 2011 - 2017
  • Table 18 – Fixed and mobile broadband subscribers - 2012 - 2017
  • Table 19 – Broadband sector revenue – 2010 - 2014
  • Table 20 – Forecast broadband subscribers – higher market growth scenario – 2018; 2024
  • Table 21 – Forecast broadband subscribers – lower market growth scenario –2018; 2024
  • Table 22 – Bahrain – IPTV subscribers – Q1 2013; Q1 2014; Q1 2015
  • Table 23 - Facebook Stats for Bahrain compared to other Middle Eastern countries - as at August 2016
  • Table 24 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 1995 - 2004
  • Table 25 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 2005 - 2017
  • Table 26 – Mobile market revenue – 2007 - 2015
  • Table 27 – Mobile monthly ARPU – 2008 - 2014
  • Table 28 – Bahrain total prepaid mobile subscribers - 1999 – Q3 2016
  • Table 29 – Zain Bahrain prepaid subscribers - 2004 - 2015
  • Table 30 – SMS message sent – 2008 - 2013
  • Table 31 – Mobile broadband subscribers and penetration – 2012 – Q3 2016
  • Table 32 – Accepted cumulative mobile number portability requests – 2011 – Q3 2016
  • Table 33 – Batelco total group mobile subscribers – 2005 – Q1 2017
  • Table 34 – Zain Bahrain – revenue, EBITDA, CAPEX and ARPU - 2005 – 2016
  • Exhibit 1 – Bahrain – National fixed voice services operators

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